Due to some last minute changes and cancellations, The General and I were lucky enough to be invited to join some friends on a three day house boat excursion on beautiful Lake Shelbyville last weekend. I found it sort of sweet considering on this same weekend seven years ago The General and I were on a lake with friends celebrating our wedding. Apparently boating with friends is the way The General and I honor our vows to each other.
The weekend started on Thursday night with packing vehicles and pizza & drinks at Turtle's. While it was a fun kick-off for the weekend's activities, we would discover the next morning, after only two hours sleep, that perhaps it wasn't the wisest start to a weekend.
After what can only be described as quick nap, we piled into the Duffmobile at early o'clock en route to our rendevous with our three fellow passengers.
By 6 am we had eaten a quick McDonald's breakfast, iced up the coolers, and were heading south on I-55 toward Shelbyville in our two car caravan. We traveled through towns I had never heard of despite living in this state my entire life, marveled at the economic development of Forsythe, held our breaths while traveling through Decatur, stopped for gas at a local Huck's, and then finally hit our destination just before 9 am.
Being the veteran houseboaters, I took Amy & Jill's lead as we toured the boat, missed those that were supposed to be there but weren't, and began unpacking the food, drinks, towels, and bedding.
By 10 am we were pulling out of the dock and it wasn't long after that Jill & I had staked out our spot on the boat. What follows is an illustartion of what two mothers with five children between them look like when they are no longer responsible for taking anyone other than themselves to the bathroom and are three hours from the sounds of whining & sibling arguing. It was glorious.
Upon finding cove five (aka Party Cove) we took note of the warning that greeted us and found a spot to drop anchor.
Following that our on-board chef Amy whipped up the first of many delicious meals and then the total relaxation commenced. There was much swimming, noodle wrangling, drinking, floating, jumping, sliding, game playing, snacking, tanning, reading, and laughing happening in and around our boat.
Later in the evening we ate again, the boys took over kitchen clean-up duties, and we ended the night with a sparkler show provided by The General and Duff.
Although we like to pretend like we're still in our early twenties, the fact that we're 30-somethings was solidified when we all agreed that we were ready for bed by 10 pm.
Saturday morning started out with blue skies and ample sunshine; unfortunately, the weather didn't hold for long.
By 11 am we were tied up with the S.S. Sausage & The Large Barge (the result of the following equation: wine coolers + raft x waving to every boat that floats by = unfavorable guests) and retreating to the covered areas of our boat in an attempt to stay out of the cold rain. The one plus side to this turn of events is that The General took almost $40 from total strangers in a game of Ship, Captain, Crew.
Despite the intermittent rain and overcast skies, we made the best of a unfavorable situation. The General, who was constantly floating away from the boat due to his inability to master the art of various flotation devices, made some new friends.
We tied up again with a crew more similar to our peer group who happened to be from nearby Shorewood. We continued to have more than our share of fun going down the onboard slide. And we laughed, so much so that two days later the muscles around my ribcage and stomach still ache. Some of us even channeled our inner 14 year old and took part in an arm wrestling contest. There was no way a little rain was going to keep us from having fun.
Sunday morning brought more sunshine which was bittersweet due to the fact that we would only be able to enjoy it for a few hours. Once again, in an attempt to take full advantage of the situation, we were in the lake by 10 am...
...but marina bound a little after 2 pm. In contrast to the previous picture, this is what two mothers with five children between them look like when they're faced with the fact that their vacation is quickly coming to an end. (Also, that is what the mother on the right looks like when she believes SPF 15 is sufficient to block the sun's rays while floating on water for three hours. Her burnt legs and face later that night will remind her that is not the case.)
Back at the marina just before 4 pm we began the depressing task of unloading all our gear, reloading it into the vehicles, and then promptly returning to make our reservation for next year because you can bet there's no way we were going to pass up the opportunity for another weekend like this.
Looking ahead to the quickly approaching start to the school year, last weekend was exactly what I needed - a little bit of time away from my duties as a mom, the opportunity to laugh with friends that we don't see nearly enough, and some quality time with The General away from the ever present responsibilities at home. I highly recommend a weekend like this to anyone with young children - you will come home rejuvenated, refreshed and with a new found energy (or at least tolerance) of those things which wear you down on a daily basis.